Despite tough economic conditions overall, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) continue their upward trend, according to In-Stat/MDR.

The high tech market research firm reports that every major market has now embraced the technology and that mature segments will see relatively low compound annual growth rates

(CAGR), and that in others, such as the communications and consumer markets, MEMS has only just begun to scratch the surface. As a result, worldwide revenues for MEMS are forecast to grow from $3.9 B in 2001 to $9.6 B in 2006.

While venture capital funding is certainly down, it is by no means out, and MEMS start-ups continue to emerge. However, considerable fabrication overcapacity currently exists and it appears that the situation will only worsen over the next year.

In-Stat/MDR also found that:

• The shift from sensor driven revenues to non-sensor driven revenues continues. In 2001, non-sensor devices comprised nearly a third of total MEMS revenues, whereas by 2006, they will account to almost half.
• The overall average selling price (ASP) for MEMS will actually increase 25 percent over the next five years, as more expensive, non-sensor devices enter the market.
• Unit shipments will double over the next five years, from 1.8 B units in 2001 to 3.61 B units in 2006. This is the result of both the introduction of new devices, as well as the emergence of new application opportunities.
• The communications and consumer sectors will see the highest CAGRs, based on revenues, through 2006, at 151.4 and 42.2 percent, respectively. However, the computer market will remain one of the largest revenue-generating segments, moving from second place in 2001 to first place in 2006.